The egg debate

What will the vegetarians do? Sajjan Raj Mehta

Deccan Chronicle

Egg is not the only protein food available to our children. There are a variety of fruits and veg etables readily available in the market which are also good for them. If our law makers and authorities are not aware or con authorities are not aware or convinced about the nutritious value of these foods, they can consider protein supplements or laddoos provided with the mid-day meal in many states.Why consider providing eggs when it hurts the sentiments of a huge section of people in the state? If you look at Karnataka’s population, there is a large vege tarian section that does not consider egg part of its diet. When these people do not believe in consuming non-vegetarian food, including eggs, do we need to hurt their sentiments and is it worth it?
The issue becomes particularly sensitive when children are involved as we Indians believe in passing on our traditions and values to the next generation. Providing eggs in the mid-day meal scheme could influence our children and we do not want that, especially when eggs are not irreplaceable in their nutritious value.

-The writer is former president, Jain Yuva Sangathan, Bengaluru

Implementing plan will be tough
Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

The egg is considered a complete protein and used as a standard by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Eggs provide a complete range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals that may be difficult to obtain from other foods.

The minister for law and animal husbandry, T.B. Jayachandra is therefore offering an important solution to malnutrition among thousands of children in Karnataka when he promises to implement the Motte Bhagya scheme in government schools.
The minister should however realise that although providing eggs may seem an easy enough proposition on paper, the proof of the pudding will lie in the implementation of the scheme.
As an observer has pointed out, `India is one of the few countries that has the dubious reputation of stealing even from the mouth of children’. There have to be stringent criteria to monitor the procurement, transport, storage and preparation of eggs as otherwise they could end up in a local omelette stall or dhaba! We must also remember that introducing eggs in schools and ensuring that children receive them is only a baby step in addressing the social, political and cultural aspects of malnutrition such as maternal undernutrition, female illiteracy, tottering public health services, unscrupulous private profiteering in the nutrition industry, an oppressive caste structure, and gender stereotypes.

-The writer is a public health doctor and co-convener , Jana Arogya Andolana, Karnataka


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